Judge dismisses lawsuit against Texas campus carry law

Court rules that professors suing the state did not provide evidence that presence of guns would impact on free speech

July 12, 2017
Concealed handgun

A US federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by three academics that sought to overturn Texas’ “campus carry law” on the grounds that it would prevent free speech.

The professors at the University of Texas at Austin filed the lawsuit against the institution and the state in July last year, challenging the 2015 law requiring public universities to allow holders of concealed-handgun licences to carry their weapons inside most buildings and classrooms on campus.

But district judge Lee Yeakel wrote in his decision on 6 July that the scholars – Jennifer Lynn Glass, professor of sociology; Lisa Moore, professor of English; and Mia Carter, an associate professor of English – did not present any “concrete evidence to substantiate their fears” that the law would have a “chilling” effect on free speech, according to The Texas Tribune.

The professors claimed that the law violated their First Amendment rights since the possibility of a gun being in their classrooms might make them hesitant to discuss controversial issues.

The campus carry law in Texas was approved in 2015 but only took effect from 1 August 2016.

Hundreds of students at UT-Austin protested against the law last year by carrying dildos, which are banned on campus under university and state obscenity rules, between classes.

Last year Stephen Mumford, a professor at the University of Nottingham, wrote in a blog for Times Higher Education that he would boycott the University of Texas while it permits guns on campus.

ellie.bothwell@timeshighereducation.com

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